The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam under construction in 2017 (courtesy of Salini Impregilo).

Is Ethiopia taking control of the River Nile?

Updated 6:56 AM ET, Sun October 21, 2018

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Story highlights

  • Ethiopia is building Africa's largest dam -- the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
  • Situated on the Blue Nile, the dam could threaten Egypt's water supply
  • Already facing water shortages, Egypt is desperate to maintain its dominance of the River Nile

(CNN)Look at Egypt on Google Earth and you will see a green line snaking through a sand-colored landscape, fanning out into a triangle in the north.

This emerald ribbon is the vegetation that grows on either side of the Nile River and around its delta. It is Egypt's only fertile land -- and testament to the country's reliance on this fabled waterway.
The Nile River Basin extends to 11 African countries, but Egypt -- one of the oldest civilizations in the world -- has controlled the river and used the lion's share of its waters for millennia.
That could be about to change.

Ethiopia's very big dam